In a first ever bilateral virtual summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Thursday discussed ways forward to further deepen bilateral ties in sectors such as healthcare, trade and defence. “There are endless opportunities to strengthen our friendship, it also brings with it challenges to turn this potential into reality, how our relation becomes a factor of stability for the region,” PM Modi said in his opening remarks.
“The focus would be on the positive trajectory in bilateral relations during discussions between the two Prime Ministers, who have already met on four occasions on the sidelines of multilateral meetings,” sources said. Modi also expressed condolences to the coronavirus affected people in Australia. It is the first time that Modi held a bilateral virtual summit with a foreign leader.
“Glad to be joining the first India-Australia Virtual Summit with you, PM Scott Morrison MP. India-Australia ties have always been close,” Modi had earlier tweeted. “As vibrant democracies, from Commonwealth to cricket to even cuisine, our people-to-people relations are strong and the future is bright,” he said.
“The virtual summit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review the broad framework of the relationship, in the context of growing ties between India and Australia, and to discuss their respective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. The Australian PM was to visit India this year which was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.